Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why Don't Students Like School -- Daniel Willingham ---------------------- 4.5 Stars

So, this is kind of a hard rating to explain.  Basically, on a personal
level, I thought Daniel Willingham's Why Don't Students Like School was incredible.  I found it interesting and entertaining and pretty much all the things that I usually judge a book by when making a rating.  YOU, however, may not like this book at all.  In fact, unless you are a teacher, I really doubt that would you get much from this (or perhaps you would, dear reader... what do I know about you?).

 Since you are probably not a cool educator like myself and in 'the know', a bit of background: Willingham is a cognitive scientist and professor at UVA and wrote this book to try to explain how people think, what intelligence is, and mostly, how this all relates to the classroom.  He's a pretty smart guy and his research seems pretty well vetted so most of what he is saying seems to be the Truth.  What's so interesting about it though, is how little of his assertions I was aware of prior to the read.

Now, again, I am not sure if you would enjoy the material if you don't teach or are not into this stuff.  I am really into this sort of thing right now, and this book hit the sweet spot.  In the book, he focuses each of the nine chapters on a major educational question.  Things like: "Is Drilling Worth It"?  and "How Can I Help Slow Learners" and, of course "Why Don't Students Like School" (the answer: it's either too easy or too hard.. the trick: you need to find the perfect middle ground). 

Perhaps why I liked the book so much is that I found myself agreeing with much of what he argued.  Although many ideas were not taught through many of my education courses, what he states often goes inline with what I have observed during the last nine years of teaching.  Of course, a few things seem to me a bit hard to believe (i.e. there is no such thing as learning style), but most of his ideas fly with me and I think should be utilized more by teachers as they would be effectuate change and helping students.

So, perhaps I tantalized you with my positive comments and maybe you want to pick it up.  If you do, it would probably be worth it.  It's a short, easy read and he does a great job of explaining the research and the 'whys' of what he is trying to explain.  Perhaps if you do read it, you might want to go into education (if not already there).  School could always use good teachers and you'd have a good start!

No comments:

Post a Comment